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The President and Vice President Together on Easing Burdens for the Middle Class

Summary: 
President Obama and Vice President Biden hold a Middle Class Task Force Meeting to discuss several policy initiatives to help middle class families.

Ed. Note: Don't miss the new report (pdf) from the Commerce Department's Economics and Statistics Administration issued for the Middle Class Task Force: "Middle Class in America."

President Obama and Vice President Biden held a Middle Class Task Force meeting during which they discussed key initiatives for middle class families. Topics of discussion previewed the major themes of the President's State of the Union address, which include creating good jobs, addressing the deficit, changing Washington, and fighting for middle class families.

After travelling across the country and hearing from struggling parents, students, and workers, Vice President Biden and the Task Force proposed several policy initiatives to help middle class families, including:

  • Nearly doubling the child and dependent care tax credit for families making under $85,000
  • Limiting a student's federal loan payments to 10 percent of his/her income
  • Creating a system of automatic workplace IRAs
  • Expanding tax credits to match retirement savings
  • Expanding support for families balancing work while caring for elderly relatives

Vice President Biden, emphasizing first and foremost that getting jobs back on track was the highest priority, explained why these measures are also of tremendous importance in remarks after the meeting: "We give them the tools, the flexibility, even just a chance to succeed, we're not only going to rebuild this economy, we're going to offer millions of Americans to build a future that they hope and still believe is available to them."

Vice President Biden at Middle Class Task Force Year One Wrap-up

Vice President Joe Biden discusses the administration’s economic initiatives for struggling middle class families at a meeting of the Middle Class Task Force at the White House January 25, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Obama closed his remarks with the over-arching principle guiding his Administration during these times:

None of these steps alone will solve all the challenges facing the middle class. Joe understands that; so do I. So do all my members of the Cabinet and our economic team. But hopefully some of these steps will reestablish some of the security that's slipped away in recent years. Because in the end, that's how Joe and I measure progress -- not by how the markets are doing, but by how the American people are doing. It's about whether they see some progress in their own lives.

So we're going to keep fighting to rebuild our economy so that hard work is once again rewarded, wages and incomes are once again rising, and the middle class is once again growing. And above all, we're going to keep fighting to renew the American Dream and keep it alive -- not just in our time, but for all time.

The Task Force's final report will be released in February, in the meantime read the full transcript of the meeting or the White House background for more information.